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Marriage Equality Michigan's Fundraiser:

Legal Fund for Overturning Band on Gay Marriage in Michigan

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BENEFITING:

Marriage Equality Michigan

THE STORY:

The Legal Action Pending: April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are fighting for their family in the state of Michigan, which has some of the nation’s most stringent and regressive laws and policies in the country in regards to the LGBT community and their children.

April and Jayne are a lesbian couple who have been in a committed domestic partnership for over a decade. They live in south-eastern Michigan. April is a neo-natal intensive care nurse, and Jayne is an emergency room nurse. They are also licensed foster parents. Together, April and Jayne have taken in three special needs newborns who were abandoned at birth by their mothers. The babies were born premature, drug-addicted, and with a host of long-term physical and mental impairments.

DeBoer and Rowse’s desire to jointly adopt all three children would establish each parent’s legal claim and relationship to their children. Currently one has adopted two of the children and the other has adopted one. Unfortunately the Michigan Adoption Code prohibits joint adoption for their kids and thousands of other children in households like theirs across the state, violating their right to Equal Protection under the United States Constitution. The law is discriminatory, irrational, and only has the effect of hurting children and destabilizing families.

April, Jayne, and their supporters are working to overturn Michigan’s Marriage Amendment, approved by voters in 2004, which prohibits gays and lesbians from a legal marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships, as well as alter Michigan’s adoption code that currently denies rights and benefits to the children of gay/lesbian couples.

If Judge Bernard Friedman of the Eastern District of Michigan rules the ban unconstitutional, it will be a landmark win for marriage equality – and for this family.

The initial complaint was filed on behalf of April, Jayne, and their children against the State of Michigan in January of 2012. The case is currently pending in the Eastern District Federal Court in Michigan. The Judge ruled that he would stay the proceedings until the U.S. Supreme Court issued their ruling on DOMA. That ruling has provided increased optimism in the success of the Deboer Rowse legal case.

Please help April and Jayne pursue this case as long as they are able. Their legal team has been representing them for free. This gets very expensive, including fees for expert witnesses, court costs, etc. This puts a huge burden on the attorneys who need to earn a living, pay their bills and take care of their families and children. These attorneys have worked tirelessly and selflessly to fight for April and Jayne, and ultimately the rights for all LGBT citizens, unmarried heterosexual couples wishing to co-adopt in Michigan, and the children deserving of two loving, legally recognized parents.

Please donate whatever you can. Even just $10 - $20 will help keep this legal challenge moving forward! They are prepared to take this to the U.S. Supreme Court if they have to. Let's keep the positive momentum going!!

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